Cushman Ice Cream Truck


Cushman Motor Works:

  • Founded: 1903 in Lincoln, Nebraska.
  • Specialty: Small scooters, utility vehicles, and specialty vehicles like ice cream trucks.
  • Focus: Affordable, practical vehicles for personal and commercial use.


  • Engine: Likely a 4.8 horsepower, single-cylinder, four-stroke engine.
  • Transmission: Centrifugal clutch with a single-speed transmission.
  • Body: Custom build on a Cushman scooter chassis with a small refrigerated compartment.
  • Top Speed: Approximately 40-45 mph (varies with load).
  • Dimensions: Compact and manoeuvrable, ideal for urban environments.

Manufacturer Design:

  • Company: Cushman Motor Works.
  • Philosophy: Small, durable, affordable vehicles for diverse uses.
  • Features: Simple, robust chassis with easy-to-maintain mechanical components. Ice cream truck variant included a specialised cargo area.


  • Cultural Impact: Nostalgic symbol of mid-20th century America, associated with childhood and post-war consumerism.
  • Innovation: Laid groundwork for future small commercial vehicles.
  • Collectibility: Highly collectible and celebrated for unique design and historical significance.

Key Facts:

  • Versatility: Adapted basic scooter design for various specialised uses.
  • Community Presence: Common sight in American neighbourhoods during the 1940s and 1950s.
  • Endurance: Many still operational and featured in vintage shows and parades.
  • Marketing: Embodied the entrepreneurial spirit of the post-war era.

Historical Context:

  • Post-War America: Emerged during a time of economic growth and increased consumerism following World War II.
  • Scooter Popularity: Affordable, easy to use, and fuel-efficient, making them practical for personal and commercial use.

The 1947 Cushman Ice Cream Truck is a beloved piece of Americana, symbolising innovation, community, and the sweet treats of a bygone era.

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